FAQ About Ultrasonic Cleaning

Here are some frequently asked questions from our customers regarding ultrasonic cleaning and our tanks:

How does ultrasonic cleaning work?

An ultrasonic cleaner uses piezoelectric transducers located underneath its tank to generate tiny cavitational vacuum bubbles which collapse with tremendous force upon impact, loosening dirt and oil from whatever has been put into the tank for cleaning. This dirt is then dissolved in a heated, solvent solution which will eventually require changing when saturated.

To the layman an ultrasonic cleaning tank appears a lot like a deep-fat fryer, what with bubbles, a wire tray, steam and a unique high-pitch hissing noise during use.

How does the tank function?

Operating our tanks is a very simple process. The user simply introduces the part to the tank via a wire tray, sets the required temperature for the cleaning fluid, and rotates the timer to the required cleaning time - starting the cleaner in the process. Periodic inspection of the cleaning solvent is required to ensure it is replaced when ineffective.

Our tanks are made to be as simple as possible and feature rotary dials to control the heating element and integral timer. Our experience has found traditional mechanical controls to be both more reliable and robust than digital controls - especially in a workshop environment.

Types of ultrasonic cleaning tank

There are four distinct build qualities of cleaning tank: Home use, hobbyist, industrial and heavy-duty industrial. They can be identified as follows:

1. Home Use

Typically made using a plastic shell and often so powered by batteries. These are often marketed as denture, jewellery and coin cleaners. They are suitable for removing dust, fingerprints, and sweat.


2. Hobbyist

These are typically up to 9 litres in size and are housed in a thin metal skin case - often mirroring the appearance of industrial cleaners in order to appear a viable alternative. These cleaners often use only two low-powered transducers and a heating element so weak that it can take several hours to heat the tank to the required temperature. Rather than being built up to a standard they are usually built down to a budget, though are still suitable for removing light soiling caused by earth and some oils & greases. They are suitable for cleaning pens, lenses, watches and jewellery.


3. Industrial

These tanks can be identified by the solid, robust construction of their casing which are of a thick, high-quality stainless steel which is resistant to being dented or compressed by the human hand. The tank will feel heavier than the hobbyist type due to the extra transducers fitted in order to give a better spread of cavitation bubbles, and the commercial-grade heating element which allows for a much faster heating of the cleaning fluid.

Unless specified otherwise, all our cleaning tanks are of 'industrial' quality.


4. Heavy-Duty Industrial

These are fixed, custom-built cleaning tanks which are often designed for 24 hour use in a factory environment. The can form part of an automated process and will require the use of three-phase electric. A cleaner of this standard will cost tens of thousands of pounds.


What are the safe minimum and maximum fluid levels in your cleaning tanks?

The user should never let the fluid level drop below 10% of the depth of the tank and not exceed 90% of the depth of the tank when in use (this figure includes fluid volume displaced by the parts).

Can you deliver your cleaning tanks outside of the UK?

Yes - we are happy to serve the needs of our international customers. Air freight prices will depend on which cleaner(s) you wish to purchase and where you live. Please contact us with your full address for an accurate quotation.

How long does the tank take to heat the cleaning fluid up?

This depends on the heating power of the tank itself. Our 13 and 27 litre models take around two hours to heat cold tap water to around 70 degrees. The heating element can work independently of the ultrasonic power, so pre-heating is possible. However, a hot solution is not prerequisite to effective cleaning and most users will turn both the heating and cleaning power on at the same time.

How long does the tank take to clean an item?

This depends on many things, including (but not limited to) the type of chemicals used in the solution, the strength of the solution, the temperature of the solution, the level of dirt in the solution, the type of dirt on the part requiring cleaning, the shape of the part and the ultrasonic power of the cleaner itself. Some items are cleaned in 5 minutes, others an hour or more.

Some deterioration in cleaning ability and effectiveness occurs naturally through machine use though this is unlikely to significantly affect most users.

What cleaning fluid should I use and where can I purchase it?

This will depend on the type of cleaning you wish to undertake. We recommend the use of propriety ultrasonic cleaning solvents provided through reputable companies such as Mistral chemicals.

Under no circumstances should flammable or corrosive liquids be used in the cleaning tank due to the risk of fire and tank/component damage. Examples of such liquids include acids, alkalis, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), paraffin, petrol and paint thinners.

What warranty do you give with your cleaning tanks?

Unless specified otherwise, all our cleaners are supplied with a one year 'back to base' warranty starting from the date of purchase. For further information, please review our Terms & Conditions of Sale.

I have a question not answered above - how can I contact you?

Please use our webform. We endeavour to answer all questions within 24 hours - regardless of the day.